Graduation and Commencement

As soon as the students step out from their school, It'll mark the commencement of their duties and responsibilities to a bigger society. 

First of all, I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to all students who recently graduated from their respective colleges and universities. The diploma you now have in hand is not only a testament to your dedication in completing your formal schooling, but also a tribute to your parents, guardians, partners and/or support groups for being with you, in one way or another, in your educational journey.

Graduation is a victory that is meant to be shared with those who played a key role in your lives

I congratulate those graduates who continuously honor their parents and/or guardians. Times may be difficult economically but your parents/guardians sacrificed their time and comfort just to provide you with needs far more than finances. They do special things, most often than not, without your knowledge.

I congratulate those graduates who have boyfriends or girlfriends at present. You were able to prove that having a partner is not a distraction but an inspiration. You were able to fulfill your personal needs for love without sacrificing your goal to finish education.

I congratulate those graduates who were able to nurture valuable friendships during their stay in school. Your friends may be imperfect but they contribute, in one way or another, to your social growth. Your friends made you feel as well that you belong to an important circle outside of your families. While they may prank or tease you often, your friends love you even if they find it corny to say it in front of you.

Graduation is also your crowning moment against all forms of social barriers that have hindered some from achieving what you have.

Despite the distractions provided by today's digital and earthly world, you were able to maintain the focus necessary to achieve a difficult mark of 3.0 or 75%. While meeting the bare minimum may be laughable to some quarters, you were able to meet what is required to pass a subject. Today, you now have the opportunity to independently discover the world for yourself.

While graduation marks the end of formal schooling, it also commences your entry into the real world.

In a few weeks’ time, you will start looking for job opportunities. You will no longer have teachers to walk you through every step of the way in getting a job. You also have to do this on your own without your parents/guardians, boyfriend/girlfriend or friends.

In more than a month, you will be casting your vote in the elections for the first time. While you may have heard various opinions and perspectives either through television, print or social media, the opinion that ultimately matters come election day is your own. There will be about 2.5 million first time voters by 13 May 2019. Your responsibility is now beyond the confines of your homes, relationships and friendships. You now have a bigger responsibility to your country at this ripe age.

At the end of the day, the process of learning and growth does not stop at a particular graduation or commencement. The challenges of everyday living continue to grow and evolve.

For now, congratulations to all graduates! Today marks the commencement of your duties and responsibilities to a bigger society!

About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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